Saturday, November 26, 2011

Barnegat, Tuckerton, Brig/Forsythe

I did a fairly conventional coastal route on Saturday morning - starting at Barnegat for something of a quick "coverage" visit, I found the state park closed (opens 9am these days?) and a lot of fishermen on the jetty and elsewhere. There was also a lot of boat traffic heading out of the inlet, so there were no birds in the inlet itself. However there were a lot of birds in the bay - recent warm weather undoubtedly contributed to the presence of Forster's Terns, although they are quite hardy. Also present was a substantially less hardy first winter Common Tern. Bonoparte's Gulls were particularly numerous and it seems that this species (along with sea ducks, Gannets and Red-throated Loons) have been on the move in large numbers this past week. There were actually relatively few loons in the bay. I took a look out toward the ocean from the end of the concrete walk and could see several groups of Northern Gannets headed south - surely meaning that thousands were on the move.

I left Barnegat pretty quickly - something that proved to be a mistake since both Western Tanager and Ash-throated Flycatcher were reported from the state park later that morning.

Great Bay WMA at Tuckerton was pretty quiet and I saw none of the Sharp-tailed Sparrows that I had gone there to look for. Boat-tailed Grackles and Black-bellied Plovers were the only birds of note.

Finally, then, to Brigantine division of Forsythe NWR where Tundra Swans have moved in, along with a much larger flock of Snow Geese than on my last visit here. Yellow-rumped Warblers and a heard-only Eastern Phoebe were enjoying the warm temperatures, but as usual with Brig in late fall it was mainly about ducks: Northern Pintail, Mallard, American Black Duck and Green-winged Teal were plentiful and supplemented by Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead, Scaup sp., Hooded Merganser. Raptor sp. were mostly Northern Harriers with one or two Peregrines and a single immature Bald Eagle.


steprose said...

spotted a Great Horned Owl in my neighbors London Plane tree, at dusk. The tree is located on E. Bay avenue in Barnegat, near Maple street.

steprose said...

This is the first sighting for me of an owl in the neighborhood